Beware The Tiger Mum Who Came to Tea!

We've all met them, from the cradle upward, those super-competitive mums who have little Franny or Alexander enrolled in Mandarin classes at 3 months, put their names down for the best preps the day after birth, force feed them the Greek classics on audio book from age 2, and have every hour of every day scheduled with activities for the next three years. Ah, the tiger mum!

Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Uttom Chowdhury must have met his fair share of pushy parents at work but is, of course, far too polite to say so.  Instead he has channelled his experience of parenting in north London into the hilarious new The Tiger Mum Who Came to Tea, a funny and insightful picture book for adults.

As well as poking some gentle but knowing humour at those over-achieving mamas (and no, dads are not immune...), Chowdhury also offers some sound advice to parents under pressure, reassuring them that they really don't need to keep up with the mummy Joneses.

All parents worry from time to time that they are not doing enough for their children, not encouraging them enough, not creating enough opportunities or scheduling enough (multiply that by ten for us home edders!).  The message of this book is just slow down, have fun with your kids, don't rush them into a life they don't need or want.

Image by Yuko Shimizu

In the book, Jenny is just a regular mum juggling work, children, husband, friends, life etc etc while hosting a playdate, when the Tiger Mum drops round for a chat.  Tiger Mum quickly makes Jenny feel that she can't possibly be doing enough for her children, after all, they haven't mastered two musical instruments and three foreign languages yet!

How are they ever going to succeed in life?!  Jenny panics.

Thankfully, Jenny quickly realises that her happy, loud, rambunctious kids are just as they should be and that growing up in a warm, loving environment is the most important thing.  Setting them up for greater success in life than all those extra curricular activities and classes ever will.

This funny and insightful adults' picture book, in which the pictures say a thousand words, is a humorous look at both tiger mums and the over-anxious parents they leave in their wake (that's most of us then!).  In the style of great satirists like Gogol, Chowdhury holds up a mirror and points out that what we are laughing at is actually ourselves.

We are all guilty of joining in the ridiculous modern phenomenon of competitive child-rearing.  Whether we are keen to share that our baby rolled over or clapped first at baby group, or desperate to share our offspring's greatest achievements in the annual parade of Christmas round robins, we all do it.  Even we parents of special needs kids do it in a negative way - my one's meltdown was worse than yours...  Ah, you have to laugh, don't you.

I love how the book combines visual humour and canny, knowing jokes to show the pitfalls of modern parenting, even if we're not quite as bad as tiger mum.  In case you were thinking of giving your kids a night off in the garden, just remember...

You can read more about Uttom Chowdhury and the Tiger Mum Who Came to Tea here.

Head over to the JKP website to buy a copy for your mum friends now!

Commissioned post

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